Navigating the Diverge-Merge on 12/95

At North Lewiston, highways 12 and 95 diverge. 12 continues across the Snake back into Lewiston and through Clarkston into Washignton.95 turns north and climbs the Lewiston hill into the Palouse. That presents a minor problem for local cyclists but if you are new to the area it might be more than minor problem. We ride it with due attention and find it pretty easy to manage though, if the traffic is heavy, we may find it necessary to stop. I thought you should know what to expect.

Diverge-Merge Map

The Diverge: Riders will turn south from Hatway Road and right onto 12/95 just before 95 turns up the hill. Sadly, there is no lane for uphill traffic. If there were, riders could split the main lane and the diverge lane indicating intent by lane position. I usually try to do that by riding the white line, maybe a little to the left of the white line to let traffic know I’m going straight through.

31st N at US 12 Bikes Watch
The Diverge takes traffic North to the Palouse. We want to go straight through.

 But you might not always be able to do that. Use your mirror, look over your left shoulder, but be sure you know if traffic is coming up behind you. It will be traveling at 65 miles per hour. And divers won’t know what to do with you. Fortunately there is ample run out room ahead for them to cut in front of you and still make the turn.

The Safest Option: go ahead and stay as far right as possible and even turn a little up hill, then stop, check for traffic and cross. No brainer.

The Merge: After the diverge you’ll find yourself going under the freeway and making a long looping turn to the left toward town. This time traffic is coming from the Palouse on 195 which will merge with 12–the route you are on just beyond the overpass.

The trick here is looking to the right while not losing your line and veering into traffic to your left.

US95 merges with US12 cyclists
That flat line running along the center of the picture to the right hand edge is 195 merging with your route. Be careful not veer into the travel lane while you are trying to look to your right for merging traffic.

The good news is the “V” formed by the merge is quite long giving you a good chance to turn a little to the right to make it easier to see and judge downhill traffic. Once again the safest option is to pull up and stop in that “V”, make your asssessment and cross.

I ride this route probably twice each week and while i always give it a little extra attention, it is not difficult.

Hey and you are almost done. Oh, did I forget to mention, there’s a little hill coming yet.

Corrie

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